Tag Archives: Judging self

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

I used to think the phrase “Judge not lest ye be judged” means “Don’t judge other people because you then open the door to be judged yourself.”

Now I think it means “Don’t judge other people because then you will judge yourself.”

The “judgment” referred to in this phrase does not mean legal judgment exercised by a judge or a jury in a courtroom. Legal judgment is conscious and (in theory) exercised for the best interest of society.

Nor does the judgment in this phrase refer to good judgment exercised by a person facing a moral dilemma. This type of judgment is also exercised consciously and for a moral purpose.

The phrase “Judge not lest ye be judged” refers to the ego driven and shame based judgment. This judgment takes the form of criticism, gossip and complaining. This type of judgment is exercised unconsciously and does not serve a moral purpose. Its true purpose (although typically clothed in the trappings of morality) is to make the judge feel better by putting another person down.

The source of this judgment is “constant criticizer.” This is the internal voice that replays prior embarrassments in your mind, tells you that you are not allowed to do certain things or that what you are doing you are doing wrong. This constant criticism does not feel good physically and mentally. The only way to feel better is to criticize someone else.

This form of judgment generates negative emotions such as vanity, shame, defensiveness, anger and depression. These feelings are generated both in the judge and the person being judged. This negative energy feeds on itself, growing and spreading to other people creating a negative feedback loop.

I used to work with a very negative woman. She constantly criticized the company we worked for and our supervisors. She complained about the work we performed. She talked about our co-workers behind their backs. One day she came into the office with the most depressed expression on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she told me she hated herself. I realized at that point that she judged herself with the equal intensity that she judged everyone else. When I saw this in her I recognized it in myself. The constant criticizer performs both functions. In other words there is no difference between self judgment and judgment of others. It comes from the same place.

The constant criticizer is like a foreign entity that takes possession of your thought process. Because it is unconscious, if you do not make the conscious decision to not be judgmental the constant criticizer will think for you. The more you allow yourself to judge the stronger it becomes. Awareness and conscious decision-making is the key to starving the beast that is the constant criticizer.

This is what “judge not lest ye be judged” truly means. If you allow yourself to be ruled by the constant criticizer and cede control of your thought process to it you will end up judging yourself. The more you judge the stronger it becomes. Only by making the conscious decision to not be judgmental will reverse this process.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

10 Life Lessons I Feel Comfortable Posting in a Blog

I am 44 years old. If you were to ask me my top ten life lessons off the top of my head here is what I would probably come up with:

  1. Don’t worry about what other people think of you. I spent far too much of my time worrying about this. So much so that I lost sight of myself and what I wanted out of life. I only really came to terms with this fact a few years ago. There is a big part of me that wants to regret this but regret is a facet of my ego and my ego is what convinced me to prioritize other people’s thoughts over my own.
  2. In terms of a career Do what you enjoy. Don’t do what you don’t like doing. Again, because I worried about what would make me look good in the eyes of others I made choices based on what I thought they would like. As a result I worked a miserable job I hated for eight years only to be laid off and unemployed / underemployed for a few years before I got back on my feet. I am now in the position of reaching for what I enjoy but it feels like I am racing against the clock. Far better to figure this one out in your twenties or earlier if possible.
  3. Avoid debt. I wish I was better about this early on as well. Any debt you take on is lost opportunity. It is better to have compound interest working for you with investments than against you with debt.
  4. If you never felt like you pleased your parents in childhood it probably will never happen when you are an adult. As such, stop trying and free up that energy for your passions. It might actually improve your relationship with your parents.
  5. Don’t associate with people who make you feel bad about yourself. You can recognize them if you pay attention to your feelings. Trust that your feelings are real, there for a reason and never wrong.
  6. Loyalty is earned. For so long I felt I needed to be loyal to things and people who had no loyalty to me. As such the rewards I thought this loyalty would bring if I just hung in there long enough never materialized until I was able to let go of this obligation.
  7. You are entitled to happiness. Everyone is. If you are unhappy there is a reason for it and it probably is not because you are bad, wrong or otherwise defective.
  8. Don’t judge other people. People who judge other people judge themselves equally as harshly. They do this because they were judged harshly and when they judge others harshly the people they judge will judge others and continue to spread the virus.
  9. Shame is toxic. Shame is the source and result of judgment. It is also the origin of misplaced loyalty and probably debt.
  10. Religion and politics are voluntary. Because no one can know what’s on the other side you should not and probably cannot force you beliefs or values on others. Nor should you judge another person harshly for believing something contrary to what you believe. If you find yourself doing this perhaps you should ask yourself what am I ashamed of? Who judged me harshly when they should have had compassion for me?

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Meditations on Mercy

Be merciful, therefore, even as your Father is merciful.  Do not judge, and you shall not be judged; do not condemn, and you shall not be condemned.  Forgive and you shall be forgiven; give and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they pour into your lap.  For with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you.

Luke 6:36-38

At the beginning of time the entire universe was compressed into a singularity.  Everything was intimately unified.  This was the garden of Eden where God and man lived together without shame and God and man (and the garden) were one.  But within this singularity there was an impulse to separate, to experience individuality.  Call this impulse the serpent.  In order for the serpent to affect its desire it had to convince more of the singularity to join in with it.  So it tricked Eve to eat of the Tree of Life.  She did and convinced Adam to eat of it also.  Their eyes were opened, they became ashamed and covered their genitals with fig leaves and they hid from God.  The singularity exploded.  This was the Big Bang.  The universe expanded at an accelerating rate.  There was separation but it was no longer perfect.

And so we now find ourselves on this Earth at this unique point in time.  We are all a piece of God from that original singularity.  Some of us are more aware of this than others.  We all possess a nostalgic yearning to return in some fashion.  Again, some more than others.  And even ourselves are divided.  There is the part of the mind that wants pleasure, and safety and wealth and power.  There is the part of the mind that tells us not to give into those desires.  There is the part of the mind that observes these other two parts and is aware of itself when it does not sleep.   Perhaps it is this last part of the mind where the nostalgic yearning resides.

I have found that judgment goes both ways.  If I judge other people it was because I was judged by others and I judge myself with constant criticism.  But if I learn to be merciful to myself I can begin to be merciful to others.  This does not happen all at once.  But with effort and mercy from others it slowly begins to happen.  And the acceleration of the universal expansion begins to slow.  And mercy and forgiveness beget more mercy and forgiveness measure for measure.

Because even in this state, within this seemingly infinite expansion of the universe the totality of all that comprised that initial singularity exists.  That is God.  We are each a cell of organism called God.  From the perspective of one cell, the entire organism is a mystery.  And yet each cell contains a strand of DNA which in turn contains the blueprint for the entire organism.  How much more vast is the seemingly infinite universe than a seemingly finite organism?  How much vaster and incomprehensible is the mystery?

If God is love then it is God that binds us together both with others and ourselves.  Love, the binding agent, is the recognition of the self in others.  It is the flashing memory of the singularity before the separation.  This is why you must forgive the other and forgive yourself.  This is also why when you forgive yourself and you forgive others, the others forgive you and themselves.

Leave a comment

Filed under Religion, Shame

On Judging People

The last Judgment - an icon 17th cent. from Li...

The last Judgment – an icon 17th cent. from Lipie, Historic Museum in Sanok, Poland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Book of Matthew Chapter 7, verse 1 Jesus says, “Judge not lest ye be judged.”  Traditionally I took this to mean, do not judge other people because you don’t like being judged yourself and if you judge other people then you open the door for them to judge you back.  Implicit in this interpretation is the idea that everyone has some flaw worthy of judgment.

Before I worked from home I worked in an office.  My adjacent cubicle neighbor was a very judgmental person who was always criticizing other people to me behind their backs.  One day she came into work with a really depressed look on her face.  The idea struck me that she was depressed because she was judging and criticizing herself just like she criticized and judged other people and it was making her feel horrible.  I base this assumption on personal experience.  I am also guilty of judging other people.  The judgment originates from a very active voice in my head that will never pass up an opportunity to point out how I should feel humiliated or ashamed because of my actions.  It also judges other people.

So now I take what Jesus said in the Book of Matthew to mean, if you judge other people you will judge yourself and constantly judging yourself feels horrible.  This makes sense to a point but Jesus goes on to talk about hypocrites and how you should not criticize a person for having a mote in their eye when you have a beam in your own.  So with that in mind it does seem like he is saying it is hypocritical to judge someone else when you yourself are equally (or perhaps more) worthy of being judged.  Either way, judging makes the object of judgment feel horrible (ashamed) even though Jesus does not address that point directly.

Judgment is also self-perpetuating because a person who judges himself and others does so from a place of shame.  He judges himself because he feels shame.  He judges others to make himself feel less shameful about himself in comparison to the other.  This shame is linked to  the illusion that judgment is upholding standards upon which civilization is maintained.  If the standards are not maintained then civilization is undermined (so goes the theory).  I happen to believe that upholding standards is a good thing.  But it seems to me that it would be better to hold up standards without judging because judging is shaming and makes people feel shitty.

In a sense it is impossible to not judge because judgment comes from that critical voice in your head.  However, you do have the ability to separate yourself from that voice by observing it without believing it is you.  You don’t have to go along with the judgment of either yourself or anyone else.  Judge not lest ye be judged.

1 Comment

Filed under Judging, Shame